More than 1,000 files shared confidentially as part of the investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, appeared to have been uploaded to a filesharing site, according to court documents. Library picture: Robert Mueller, at the time director of the FBI, is seen during a White House meeting, 20 July 2012. Photo credit: Official White House Photo/Pete Souza
Evidence gathered by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, was obtained by Russians and leaked online in an attempt to discredit his inquiry into Moscow’s interference in US politics, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
A court filing by Mueller’s office said more than 1,000 files that it shared confidentially with attorneys for indicted Russian hackers later appeared to have been uploaded to a filesharing site and promoted by a Twitter account.
“We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case,” a tweet from the account said. “You can view all the files Mueller had about the IRA and Russian collusion. Enjoy the reading!”
The tweet was posted in October last year by the account @HackingRedstone, according to the filing. A reporter was also offered leaked material via a direct message the same day. The account has since been removed from Twitter.
Mueller’s court filing on Wednesday said the names and structure of folders containing the leaked files matched those used by Mueller’s office when it shared the data, and that these had not been made public.
The prosecutors said the filesharing site had confirmed to the FBI that the account which posted the material was registered from an IP address – an identifier for devices connected to the internet – in Russia.
FBI investigators had found no evidence that government servers holding the data had been hacked, according to Mueller’s team, pointing instead to a leak on the Russian side.
Mueller disclosed the leak in a filing as part of his prosecution of Concord Management and Consulting, a Russian company that allegedly funded hacking operations by Russia’s notorious Internet Research Agency (IRA).
The filing argued that attorneys for Concord should not be given access to “sensitive” evidence gathered by Mueller’s team for the case.
It said: “The person who created the webpage used their knowledge of the non-sensitive discovery to make it appear as though the irrelevant files contained on the webpage were the sum total evidence of ‘IRA and Russian collusion’ gathered by law enforcement in this matter in an apparent effort to discredit the investigation.”